Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 17:57 UK

Prison for BNP activist's killer

Habib Khan
Khan stabbed his neighbour in July last year

An Asian man who killed his British National Party activist neighbour in a fight has been jailed for eight years.

Habib Khan, 50, of Stoke-on-Trent, was convicted in May of the manslaughter of 52-year-old Keith Brown whom he stabbed with a kitchen knife in July 2007.

The two men had been involved in a long-running dispute over land.

Khan said living for five years next door to Mr Brown had been "hell" and his family had been subjected to "racial hostility" by his neighbours.

Stafford Crown Court was told Khan had killed Mr Brown in a fight outside their homes in Uttoxeter Road, Normacot.

The dispute started when Khan put in a planning application to build a house on his land several years before.

Mr Brown objected to it and when it was granted and work began, he "took steps to obstruct it".

I think what we've witnessed here is an outrageous betrayal of justice
Martin Coleman, BNP councillor

The court heard that in the incident last July, Khan held a knife against his neighbour "to scare him" when he saw him trying to strangle his son Azir.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Brown died from a single stab wound.

Judge Tonking said: "What became obvious as the evidence unfolded, however, is that from time to time, despite denials to the contrary, both Mr Brown and his son Ashley Barker were involved in acts of racial aggression towards members of Mr Khan's family."

He added that Khan had acted "in the honest belief that he needed to protect his son" but in doing so had killed Mr Brown.

Khan, described by a Muslim colleague as a respected, religious and helpful person, was also found guilty of wounding Mr Brown's son, Ashley Barker, during the fight.

Khan's other son, Kazir Saddique, was sentenced to a year in prison and a year on licence after admitting unlawful wounding but Azir, 24, was found not guilty of wounding.

At a news conference outside the court, Mr Brown's widow Julia said she felt justice had not been done.

She said: "At the end of the day, it should have been murder not manslaughter.

"If he did not have the intention to go out and murder he should not have taken the knife out.

"Everybody feels sorry for that family but what have we been through?"

Julia Barker states that justice has not been done

Local BNP councillor, Martin Coleman, told reporters the party would start a campaign to "expose what has gone on today in court" and said he viewed the case as "insanity and madness".

He added: "It bears no relationship with any form of justice that I understand, can understand recognise or accept.

"We've got a man who has been murdered in the street.

"Someone has ran out into the public street with a knife and murdered a man and the judge says there's literally no case to answer.

"I think what we've witnessed here is an outrageous betrayal of justice."

Khan denied murdering Mr Brown but was convicted of manslaughter on 23 May.

A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said the investigation into Mr Brown's death had been handled in a "thorough and impartial" way.

In a statement, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the force had had repeated contact with both families during the dispute and investigated complaints made on both sides.

A spokesman said they were unable to substantiate any of the claims made about the way the families were treated by the force but one officer received advice from officials.

Khan's barrister, Simon Drew, said police investigations into the various incidents often "came to nothing" because of "generous failures by the system".

Neighbour killer also wounded son
28 May 08 |  Staffordshire
Man convicted of killing activist
23 May 08 |  Staffordshire
Court hears of neighbour 'hell'
19 May 08 |  Staffordshire
Man stabbed neighbour in dispute
12 May 08 |  Staffordshire
Murder accused faces more charges
21 Sep 07 |  Staffordshire
Police watchdog probe into murder
10 Aug 07 |  Staffordshire

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